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25 Oct, 2013 16:12

SWAT team raids investigative journalist’s home, confiscates confidential DHS files

SWAT team raids investigative journalist’s home, confiscates confidential DHS files

An investigative journalist says federal agents raided her home earlier this year and confiscated the notes she used to report on a government cover-up. Now she fears her sources have been compromised.

Audrey Hudson told The Daily Caller that the files were taken during a SWAT raid of her Shady Side, Maryland home this past August conducted as part of an investigation into her husband, Paul Flanagan. Authorities were following up on a lead that Flanagan unlawfully possessed a number of firearms, and reportedly pilfered his wife’s personal documents during an armed raid of the couples’ home.

According to the Daily Caller’s Alex Pappas, authorities had reason to believe that Flanagan was amassing a gun collection despite being legally barred from owning firearms due to a previous conviction. The Daily Caller obtained a search warrant showing that law enforcement was given the go-ahead to conduct a raid because Flanagan had been found guilty of resisting arrest in 1986 and thus prohibited from owning weapons. Authorities believed he had broken that restriction.

One party that was interviewed remembered distinctly about Flanagan advising he had recently purchased a Bersa .380 handgun, and observed pictures of firearms similar to AK-47 semi-automatic rifles which were identified by Flanagan as being his,” court documents obtained by Pappas say.

Maryland State Police and the Department of Homeland Security both participated in the raid because Flanagan is employed by the Coast Guard, which is considered a division of DHS. If the raid was indeed over Flanagan’s alleged gun collection, though, then why was his wife’s papers taken by law enforcement? Hudson believes that the federal agents who entered her home knew she had worked with federal whistleblowers and wanted her sources.

Hudson is currently a freelance writer, but has reported previously for Newsmax, the Colorado Observer and The Washington Times.

After the search began, Hudson said she was asked by an investigator with the Coast Guard Investigative Service if she was the same Audrey Hudson who had written a series of critical stories about air marshals for The Washington Times over the last decade,” Pappas reported.

Hudson told the Daily Caller that during the raid, authorities confiscated file which included notes that “were used to expose how the Federal Air Marshal Service had lied to Congress about the number of airline flights there were actually protecting against another terrorist attack.”

It took an entire month after the raid for Hudson to learn that the files had been taken by authorities. Miguel Bosch, a former air marshal-turned-special agent for the Coast Guard Investigative Service, called Hudson in September and told her that officials had her documents: handwritten and typed notes stemming from a series of interviews with confidential sources she had conducted, as well as other files.

During the course of the search, the CGIS agent discovered government documents labeled FOUO – For Official Use Only (FOUO) – and LES – Law Enforcement Sensitive. The files that contained these documents were cataloged on the search warrant inventory and taken from the premises,” a representative for the Coast Guard told the Daily Caller. “The documents were reviewed with the source agency and determined to be obtained properly through the Freedom of Information Act.”

The documents were returned to Hudson, but she says she doesn’t buy into their explanation. She says their response only explains one of the five files taken during the raid, “but does not explain why they took four other files with my handwritten and typed interview notes with confidential sources, that I staked my reputation as a journalist to protect under the auspices of the First Amendment of the Constitution.”

This guy basically came in here and took my anonymous sources and turned them over — took my whistleblowers — and turned it over to the agency they were blowing the whistle on,” Hudson told The Daily Caller. “And these guys still work there.”

Part of the reason I’m coming forward with this is I’m scared to contact them,” she said. “I’m terrified to contact them…I’ve got to let these guys know somehow.”

A spokesperson for the Maryland State Police told Pappas that an investigation is currently under review regarding Hudson’s husband.